After 67 Years, It Was Time For An Upgrade

Jahri Francis, Veritas Staff

Nov. 1, 2018

Veterans Memorial Stadium has been around since 1951. The stadium is owned by the town, which might seem unusual.

Last year the Rockland Park Department determined the stadium is in need of major renovations. The reasons for the repairs are because it will look better, it’ll be structurally sound, and  most importantly, it will be accessible to handicapped citizens.

Peter Ewell, the Park Commissioner explained why it is important to have construction done to the stadium. “The stadium would fall down if we waited any longer. It was originally built in 1951,” he said.

Mr. Graziano, the Athletic Director of Rockland High said, “The state said it wasn’t condemned, but it was time to redo it.” He explained that they are upgrading the electrical and will fix the roof. He also said, “It is a lot of construction for safety purposes and to add handicap ramps.”

As far as the timing of the construction, Mr. Ewell said, “Originally the construction was supposed to start at baseball season last spring, but bids and funds were not available.” He also said, “The construction of the stadium should be finished November 3, 2018.”

While the renovations are a good thing, the bad news is that RHS football spectators have not been able to sit and watch home football games.

Also, the band has had to adjust its location since they always sat and played in the stadium during the football games, before they went on the field for their halftime show.

John Piazza, the high school band director, is happy about the construction to the stadium, even though obstacles come of it. He said that the stadium is a positive representation of Rockland.

“I think the construction is fantastic. The stadium is a piece of Rockland history. It’s also a memorial to all who have served our country.”

He explained that the stadium represents veterans that fought for us and that it is sacred. It would be very disrespectful to tear it down and build something new.

Mr. Piazza explained that there are two very specific challenges to the band. The first problem is, “There’s something we have to worry about and that’s weather. The instruments cannot get wet. The rain could damage the instruments. Also the uniforms have patches that can bleed, so if the instruments and uniforms get wet, we’ve got thousands of dollars worth of instruments and uniforms that would get damaged.”

The other issue Mr. Piazza discussed is about the seating.“There are only three benches outside, so the band has to spread out across the benches. This makes it harder for many musicians to hear the directions and the music because of how far apart they are from each other.”

Despite these obstacles for the band and for spectators, everyone agrees that Veterans Memorial Stadium will be a great place for the future which is the most important thing.

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